Horn Farm Happenings – January 12, 2024

The Way of the Willow

In many cultures around the world, animals and plants hold symbolic meaning far deeper than their ecological roles.

Willow trees, for example, share a widely common cultural significance of survival and endurance. Because of their unique ability to thrive in adverse conditions, people around the world see willow trees as a sign of resilience.

Willow is also extremely flexible. Having branches that may be bent without breaking, willow trees can withstand high winds, storms, and even natural disasters. Willow teaches us that flexibility and adaptation are key to success when faced with challenging circumstances.

And so it’s fitting that we are kicking off 2024 – the Horn Farm Center’s 20th Anniversary – with two community events, our Winter Willow Workdays:

We hope that you can join us! These two volunteer days will be the first of many opportunities this year to celebrate and honor the resilience of our organization – through storytelling, programs and community events both new and renewed.

Here’s a sneak peak at what we have in store during our 20th Anniversary year:

  • Horn Farm History & Storytelling
  • A Special Series of Homesteading Workshops (stay tuned to find out why this is a 20th Anniversary “throwback” theme)
  • Summer Solstice Community Gathering on June 22, 2024
  • New announcements about the Farmhouse Rebuild Project
  • and, the launch of a Wild & Uncommon new brand for the York County Pawpaw Festival – also entering its 20th year!

2024 will be a year for reflection, celebration, and transformation as we move towards the next season of carrying out our mission. In the spirit of our friend the willow tree, we will look back at all of of our accomplishments and the hurdles we’ve overcome while also looking forward and sharing our vision for the future of the Horn Farm Center.

A History of Community Resilience

The Horn Farm Center is a conservation success story. Born out of the effort to save the farm from industrial development in 2000, the Horn Farm Center for Agricultural Education was established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation in 2004.

The Horn Farm was saved by a community of passionate people, who understood that our natural spaces and cultural practices of stewarding and cultivating the land are sacred and need to be preserved. 

20 years later, that sense of responsibility for the wellbeing of our community and natural environment has endured. In fact, it has grown exponentially as we have cultivated a deeper connection with this place.

The Horn Farm has been farmed for at least 250 years and continues to be farmed and stewarded today. The farm has weathered fire, flood, and even thieves, yet it stands on as a symbol of York County’s proud heritage in locally-rooted farming and land stewardship.

Across its history and into today, the farm is also a symbol of York County’s maker-spirit: always exploring the fringe and the cutting edge with the help of imaginative community members.

Learn more HFC history

Learn to Garden Ecologically

Interested in building native habitats and pollinator gardens? The Ecological Gardener Training Program teaches the work of fostering native habitat gardens throughout the seasons.

Why start now?? Because students experience the flow of activities as the seasons shift: from a winter of observing, learning, and planning to getting down in the dirt during the growing season, fostering real change on the land.

Whether you’re interested in converting your lawn into a thriving ecosystem, seeking deeper connection with native plants, or simply want to contribute new skills to your community, this Training Program offers a comprehensive deep-dive into the world of creating and tending resilient ecosystems in human spaces.

We’re excited to bring you another year of nature-based learning in partnership with Waxwing EcoWorks Co.!

We’re just under ONE MONTH AWAY from the start of the program, so apply today to reserve your spot! No prior knowledge or training is required–just a curiosity and a passion for connecting with nature.

Click here to learn more & apply.

“The Ecological Gardener Training Program was an outstanding experience! The core classes provided great context in gardening for nature and the course gave us plenty of experiences to practice planning, site prep, and planting. The field trips were exceptional and the camaraderie with other gardeners was a joy. Highly recommend!”

– Diane Koons, 2023 Ecological Gardener Training Program Graduate


Last Chance! Beekeeper Training Starts Soon

Don’t miss you chance to become a beekeeper in 2024! Taught by Mark Gingrich of Gingrich Apiaries, the Horn Farm’s Beekeeper Training Program explores beekeeping from its scientific underpinnings to keeping a hive at home.

Over the course of this two year program, participants will work side by side with Mark and other program participants to learn all aspects of keeping bees.

Register soon! The Beekeeper Training Program starts on January 17th. The class meets monthly for 1.5 hour sessions from January until October.  

Click here to register.